NATO confirms Russian jet violated Turkish airspace

A Russian jet has violated Turkish airspace, Ankara and NATO said Saturday, adding to recent strains in the traditionally friendly relationship between the two countries.

The SU-34 fighter jet violated Turkish airspace on Friday, according to a statement from the Turkish Foreign Ministry. Ankara said it had summoned the Russian ambassador for talks.

The statement said that the Russian plane ignored numerous warnings "by Turkish air radar units ... both in English and Russian languages," adding that the violation could lead to "serious consequences."

Relations between Ankara and Moscow have soured in recent months, after Turkey shot down a Russian warplane in November for allegedly violating Turkish airspace, a charge Russia denies.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg criticized the latest incident. Turkey is a member of the military alliance.

"A Russian combat aircraft violated Turkish airspace yesterday, despite repeated warnings by the Turkish authorities," Stoltenberg said in a statement, calling on Russia to "act responsibly" and fully respect NATO airspace.

"Previous incidents have shown how dangerous such behaviour is," he said, calling for calm and de-escalation. "Russia must take all necessary measures to ensure that such violations do not happen again," Stoltenberg added.

NATO decided last month to move some of its AWACS (Airborne Early Warning and Control System) surveillance planes to Turkey, following a request by the government in Ankara. The alliance member said it felt threatened by the conflict in the region.

Last update: Sat, 30/01/2016 - 18:57
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